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The Consequences of Inviting Oneself Can Be A Learning Experience

I had two best friends growing up. One of them we’ll call Sam and the other Kayla. I’d known Sam since I was born and Kayla for about a year but we’d become a trio.

Anyway, when we were about 10 years old the church was having a carnival and my Mom said I could invite ONE friend. So I invited Kayla, because she had just invited me to a soccer game the last week, and I wanted to say thank you. I knew from previous experience it was better if Sam never knew about the fact that Kayla and I were hanging out, because she would feel left out. I expressed my worry to my Mom who was very firm and told me, “Tough. One invite. Sam is old enough to know manners. When you’re not invited, you’re not invited and there’s no need to act up about it.”

Well the news leaked out by Kayla accidentally saying something at lunch one day. Sam was, of course, very sad and wanted desperately to go with us. I told her I was only allowed one person. She begged me to re-ask my mom, so I said I would try, but I told her I didn’t think it would happen. I did, however, tell her the name of the church. It was a public event geared towards charity, so I didn’t seem the harm of her coming separately. I thought perhaps her parents could drive her.

That night I ask my mom if Sam can come too and she says no. I call Sam and tell her so, and apologize and hang up. About 15 minutes later the phone rings and it’s Sam’s mom demanding to know what is going on. I ask what she means and she says that Sam is crying and angry and has told her that I invited her to a party and then uninvited her. She demands to talk with my mom.

Okay, I admit it, I do something I’m really embarrassed about to this day. I explain the story again (the truth mind you) and I BEG her not to talk to my mom. However she tells me that she wants to talk to her and I reluctantly hand over the phone.

I don’t know what they said, because I was so embarrassed that I didn’t want to stay in the room. But at 5:15, my mom told me to get in the car and we would pick up my friends. I could tell she was angry, so I got in the car. On the way she explained that only TWO people were going to this party, as originally planned. We would take Sam and Kayla there, we would come home. At 7 we would pick them up and take them home. We. Now I was the odd one out. I protested a little, but I felt like it was my fault, because I’d known what Sam was like, and I’d still said I would ask my mom one more time.

It was fairly miserable. We dropped them off (Mom allowed me to walk them to the door and explain). We picked them up and took them home. As we pulled into our own driveway, I very quietly apologized. To my surprise, my Mom apologized too.

“The event was all for charity- it’s not as though it was a private party,” she said. “And I know that Sam doesn’t often get to do fun things like this.”

It was perfectly true as well. Sam’s family had 7 kids and no money most of the time.

In case anyone is wondering, I’m still friends with both girls today. Sam’s actually a social butterfly, and goes to more events during the week that I get invited to in a month.

I don’t think my Mom was wrong in punishing me this way, I think the real victim of the whole story is Kayla, who had expected a fun night with me and ended up walking about with someone different, and from what I hear now it wasn’t that much fun. Both of them felt guilty that I was at home. But lesson learned! There was no more ‘inviting oneself’ from there on out! 0211-11

{ 113 comments… add one }
  • Serenity S. August 18, 2011, 11:41 am

    I think that the OP’s mom did not allow her to go to show her that this kind of behavior would not work to get her way in the future. You know, like if you have a small child throwing a tantrum in the store and you tell them you are going to leave the store if they don’t stop. If you say something to a child you have to keep your word or they will think they can over-ride your descisions in the future by acting the same way. IE; they would throw a fit in the store again. I think that perhaps Sam misunderstood herself as being invited when OP told her the location of the event. Maybe OP didn’t phrase things right. Sam’s mom had some reason to think that her daughter had been invited and disinvited. And that is probably why OP’s mom reacted the way she did. But I do feel bad for OP and Sam both. As a ten year old I would feel embarrassed if I had to leave my good friend out, and as a ten year old I would feel hurt if I was left out. Of course OP didn’t know how to handle the situation right with Sam at that age.

  • Asharah August 18, 2011, 11:48 am

    To me the punishment of the OP doesn’t make sense unless OP’s mom was trying to guilt-trip Sam. “See, you lie to get your way, but your friend has to pay the consequences and miss the event because of you.” And maybe also punish Kayla for mentioning the outing in front of Sam. Doesn’t make any real sense, but who knows. She can’t really punish another person’s kid openly, but she can punish her indirectly with guilt.

  • Louise August 18, 2011, 12:02 pm

    I presume there’s a monetary reason why the OP’s mother limited the OP to just one guest. Maybe there was entrance fee, or she planned to give the kids money for carnival rides/snacks. The event was for charity, so I presume there was money involved. Plus given the information about Sam’s inability to afford such outings, it makes sense that were was payment of some kind expected for the event. I don’t blame the OP’s mother for being willing (or able?) to pay for just two kids, not three.

    Kayla told Sam about the event. Not the OP’s fault. When Sam asked the OP about it, she said her mother was allowing to bring only Kayla, but here’s the name of the church in case you can make it there under your own steam. Perhaps this is what Sam construed as an invitation? I don’t fault the OP for giving Sam info about the carnival. It’s not a private party she’d be crashing.

    Sam begs the OP to broach the subject with her mother. OK, says OP, but don’t get your hopes up, something which Sam apparently ignores. Maybe because in Sam’s mind she’s already been invited and all she needs now is a ride, which is bound to come through if she’s been invited?

    OP’s mother says no, OP relays the information to Sam, Sam construes this as an “uninvite” and wails to her mother. Sam’s mother calls the OP’s mother to ask what’s going on, which I think is pretty reasonable. When OP says she told Sam’s mother “the truth,” I’m guessing it’s the story she told here: There is no party, Sam wasn’t exactly invited, Sam’s mother is the victim of misinformation. I can understand Sam’s mother wanting to talk to the adult involved here, not the 10-year-old.

    And … I don’t get the rest. It appears that the OP’s mother, instead of asking her daughter what happened, allowed Sam’s mother to steamroll her and punished the OP for it. I also don’t understand what lesson this was supposed to teach the OP. It’s not the OP’s fault that Kayla blabbed about the carnival or Sam invited herself. I think the person most at fault here is the OP’s mother.

  • Elizabeth August 18, 2011, 12:23 pm

    “OP’s mom reaction was a bit passive-agressive : see, I took your kid (Sam) and the initial invitee (Kayla), so my DD didn’t get to go. It’s YOUR fault!”

    This is how I read it, too. What’s more, I get the impression that that’s how Sam took it, too. People talk about her being “rewarded,” but I suspect it was ashes in her mouth to go with Kayla and have her friend have to stay home because of her actions. After all, she knew that she had exaggerated to her Mom in a way that ended up with her friend missing out.

    I don’t think this is how I would have handled the situation, but I don’t think the mother is so horrible, really. It does sound like everyone involved learned not to invite themselves along in the future!

  • catwoman2965 August 18, 2011, 12:23 pm

    I don’t think the OP did anything wrong; my take on it was she was allowed to invite one friend, and that her mom would pay for the two girls at the carnival; and perhaps that’s why she was limited to only one friend, rather than both. I also agree that at 10, no matter how well-mannered you are, your’re still going to be upset if excluded from something fun like this.

    I agree that perhaps the entire outing should have been canceled. And as for leaving them alone, depending on how long ago they were 10, that might have been the norm. I’m 45, and when I was 10 and younger, I was going places, like walking to the library through downtown, alone. It was a different time then, so no one batted an eye when kids did things on their own.

  • Maitri August 18, 2011, 12:27 pm

    If I read the story correctly, I think that Sam honestly truly thought that she was invited – however she misunderstood what the OP said, that’s what she thought. So she probably didn’t intentionally try to invite herself. But her mom needed to stop jumping to her precious baby’s offense and just ask politely what was going on. And OP’s mom needed to put on her big girl panties and not let another mom boss her around.

  • Snowy August 18, 2011, 12:28 pm

    The reason for the one-friend limit might be financial; some carnivals charge per ride and all charge per game played and, of course, food. The invite might’ve included money to cover those things, thus the family was only willing (or able) to pay for two kids, not three. Or it could be that sometimes Mom didn’t like what she saw when the three girls were together, and wanted her daughter to be with a friend but outside of the trio for a day.

    But the only winners here are Sam and her mother, mostly Sam. No one else won. Sam was manipulative and lied repeatedly and got rewarded for it by. Meanwhile, Kayla got a bait-and-switch and LW was punished fro what Sam did. LW’s mom was out of line and had no spine. I’m aghast at what she did to her poor kid. It’s all good to stand your ground, but it’s better to cave once to be fair to YOUR OWN CHILD than to punish them when they are innocent.

  • Stitch August 18, 2011, 12:29 pm

    Frankly I think your mother was a hypocrite!

    You expressed your concerns to your mom and she said “Tough. One invite. Sam is old enough to know manners. When you’re not invited, you’re not invited and there’s no need to act up about it.”

    So she knew that this could be an issue and expected you to deal with it. Yet when she is the one put on the spot by Sam’s mom, and she has to deal with seeing the hurt, she caves. A ten year old is “old enough” to be expected to accept “Tough” as an answer but the parent it seems is not?

    No, your mother should have told Sam’s mom the same line she told you. I suspect that she actually had to see/hear/deal with the reality of a crying hurt little girl, she could not handle being so callous. So she ends up punishing you for her hypocrisy and inability to do what she expected you to do. The only lesson I would have learned from this was “Do as I say not as I do, and if things get tough, don’t count on me to have your back” because really that is what she did. She told you one thing, and caved to the pressures that you were instructed to ignore and deal with. She knowingly made you hurt your friend (because one or the other is going to be hurt) then when confronted did not even have the courage and strength to back you up.

    You did nothing wrong, you told Sam no, (politely) and you told Sam’s mom the same. Your mother had no obligation to engage Sam’s mother in any discussion. She did not owe her an explanation. She did not need to justify her or your actions. She should have said “Yes that is correct, one friend she picked Kayla not Sam, no Sam may not come with us” And really nothing more. It should not have been a 15 minute conversation. Heck “Tough. One invite. Sam is old enough to know manners. When you’re not invited, you’re not invited and there’s no need to act up about it” would have been better than this outcome.

  • Kimberly August 18, 2011, 12:29 pm

    Sam was wrong for pitching a fit.

    Kayla was wrong for talking about the event.

    Sam’s Mom was wrong for demanding an invite.

    Op’s mom was wrong. If the she thought the op had invited sam she should have talked before pronouncing sentence. Then she should have either told sam’s mom some cold hard facts about Sam’s
    behavior and that she wasn’t going to pay for Sam to go or she should have paid for all three.

    The only person who didn’t do anything wrong was punished.

  • Merrilee August 18, 2011, 12:31 pm

    Perhaps the OP’s mom was under financial constraints herself and was funding the outing at the carnival, but could only afford to fund 2 children to go. In that case, I don’t think limiting the number of attendees was wrong – particuarly since she made it clear to the OP that only one friend could go.

    The people who made the faux pas were Kayla for talking about an event in front of people who were not invited (yes, I get that she’s 10 and they don’t always think), Sam for expecting the OP to get her to change her mom’s mind and then throwing a fit about it, and Sam’s mom. The OP’s mom isn’t entirely blameless here either as she should have told Sam’s mom “NO” or cancelled the outing altogether.

  • claire delune August 18, 2011, 12:33 pm

    I don’t have anything new to add, really, I just thing it bears repeating as many times and by as many people as possible–the OP did nothing wrong! I have no idea why she was “punished,” or why she views this punishment as acceptable. Of the 5 people in this story, OP is perhaps the only one who *isn’t* in some way to blame.

  • alli_wan August 18, 2011, 1:08 pm

    I side with OP’s mom. I wish my own parents would have done so.

    OP was young, yes, but the lesson she needed to learn was ‘no means no, no doesn’t mean maybe.’

    Everyone is pointing out how OP wasn’t a fault, but she shares just as much blame as her other two friends. Kayla is at fault for talking about the outing in front of Sam. Sam is at fault for wheedling for an invitation and then escalating the behavior when she didn’t get what she wanted. The OP is at fault for not just saying no, and not sticking to it, but instead trying to convince her mother again and again to invite Sam along too. Her mother told her no, she didn’t take no for an answer and she suffered the consequences for it. That the OP was left out made the best impression on not only herself, but on both friends that the behavior was not acceptable and would not be tolerated in the future without furthering the drama for Sam and her mother.

    When I was young, my parents planned a family vacation and mentioned to my sister they were thinking of inviting one of her friends to go along with us, a friend whose family was having a hard time financially. Before my parents could invite the friend via her parents, my sister had already asked, found out the friend couldn’t go, then invited another friend to take her place, all without consulting our parents. While the solution shouldn’t have involved leaving my sister home alone on a week long vacation, my parents picked the next worse solution; they brought friend number 2 with us! Now, 20 years later, my sister still has no problem inviting herself places, bringing her dog everywhere without asking, and booking airline tickets before gaining permission, much less an invitation to come. (She did the last one last night. Advice welcome on how to deal with this since I had thought I had made it clear this was not acceptable last time).

    Suffering the consequences of misbehavior is all a part of growing up, even if you are ten. Brava, OP’s mom, brava.

  • Brenda August 18, 2011, 1:18 pm

    I have to say I think both mothers were out of line. Sam’s mother, in some ways, actually handled it better by going to the OP’s mother, as should have been done.

    As others have noted, since all the OP’s mom was apparently doing was providing transportation, I think it was selfish and cold of her to make the OP choose between her friends. If there had been an issue of paying the way in, or one of the friends living a long way away, then the OP and her mother should have discussed it together and worked out a decision. Seriously, the OP was only 10!

    I think the OP’s mother has some issues.

  • Jennifer August 18, 2011, 1:23 pm

    I think the OPs mom was totally off here, in more ways than one.

    First, you can decide your own kid can go somewhere on their own at ten, but if someone else’s parents are expecting you to go to a public event with their ten year-old kids, you need to supervise them.

    Second, your mom’s response made no sense. She didn’t invite the other kid, it was a charity event and public and the kid did not deserve to be punished for the other mom’s freak out.

    So punishing her kid and leaving someone else’s ten year-old kids alone without clearing that with their parents first is just a terrible idea.

  • Hollanda, UK August 18, 2011, 1:31 pm

    Well from what I worked out, the OP’s mother was trying to lay down some rules…as far as she could see, the OP broke the rules and deserved to be punished. Unfortunately, I guess being a parent sometimes you have to use your own judgement on situations and act on the information available at the time. OP’s mother called on what she could see, rightly or wrongly.

    I am not sticking up for OP’s mother here…I think she could maybe have worked harder to try and find out the real story. I think Sam’s mum was to blame, for not considering that 10 year old girls are more than able to twist situations to their own advantages, without necessarily realising the breaches of etiquette they may be committing at the time. They’re young, they’re kids. Had the kids been older, and the occasion an invite-only party, I could understand punishing OP by saying “You’re not going any more and you can explain to your friends why not”…but 10 year old kids? A carnival that people can just turn up to? I don’t get it.

  • A August 18, 2011, 1:52 pm

    I agree with others that the whole situation seems strange. Most at fault, I’d say, is Sam’s mom who should have realized what happened after it all was explained to her and not (most likely) demanded that her daughter be allowed to go with. Secondly, the OP’s mom shouldn’t have punished the OP for something that wasn’t her fault. Nuts.

  • Aje August 18, 2011, 1:56 pm

    I’m actually the OP for this story. So let me clear up a few questions

    Yes, there was a charge to get into the carnival. Also, it was right around tax season and my mom was trying to get everything together- spending literally hours at it because my father worked. She was in charge of running my brother back and forth to sports practices as well, so her logic was “I have all this work to do in between running the kids around… I am only driving to ONE friend’s house.” Kayla and Sam lived on the opposite ends of town, about 20 minutes from each other.

    I realize my mom probably does come off as very harsh, but Sam is the queen of misunderstandings that normally come out in her favor. And I’m afraid for most of my life, I just let her push me around. Sam had also tried to mooch off my mom for rides and time (Mom would say, “Alright Sam, I need to take you home,” and Sam would try to buy more time by lying and saying her parents weren’t home or whatever) and my Mom never let her have her way. Sam, like many of our readers here, thinks that my Mom is mean. To me, however, I see it as my mom sticking to her guns. Two people were going and that’s that.

  • Angela August 18, 2011, 2:02 pm

    Adding to the confusion: Church events are usually no- or low cost and welcome to anyone who wants to attend. That’s often the whole point of the event…to bring in potential churchgoers. So I am having trouble seeing cost or policy as the reason for keeping the number of kids at two. BTW, I wonder if Kayla or Sam’s parents knew of the OP’s mom’s intentions? If someone invited my 10-year-old daughter to a public event, even a church carnival, and just dropped her off without clearing it with me, I would not take it well.

  • Yvaine August 18, 2011, 2:11 pm

    Aje posted:

    so her logic was “I have all this work to do in between running the kids around… I am only driving to ONE friend’s house.”

    So…her method of punishment resulted in her having to drive to two houses, thus defeating the purpose.

    I’m sorry, I’m sticking to my guns. Your mom and Sam’s mom were unjustifiably mean to you, and it sounds like Sam was too.

  • Wink-n-Smile August 18, 2011, 2:41 pm

    I think the OP’s mother wasn’t trying to punish the OP. She was trying to punish Sam and her mother. When they saw that their behavior caused the OP to lose out on her OWN OUTING, they learned never to pull that with her, or her mother, again.

    It was a learning experience for all parties involved, and while it was harsh, it was effective.

    This reminds me of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Men. One of the boys misbehaves, and the professor takes him out to the shed for punishment. However, instead of spanking him, as the boy expects, the professor makes the boy spank *him*. He even forces the child to spank him as hard as he can, and make sure it hurts.

    The boy cried and promised never to do (whatever it was) again, and really got the whole “This will hurt me more than you” idea of punishment. He never wanted his professor to suffer like that, and so he really changed his behavior. However, before that incident, he’d been spanked numerous times to no effect. He was able to shrug off his own personal pain, but not the pain he inflicted on someone else.

    I think that’s where the OP’s mom was going with this. Painful in the moment, but quite effective. And as the OP said, they’re still a tight group today, so it worked.

  • twiggy August 18, 2011, 2:45 pm

    I don’t understand why so many people are saying that LW’s mom was wrong to only allow one of LW’s friends to come. Regardless of cost, or supervision, or any of the reasons various posters have listed as possible motivations behind her limit, at the end of the day, the mom could tell her daughter that she could only invite one person, or no people, or just gerbils. It’s her perrogative.
    LW knew the rules. She only got one invite. From the beginning, she tried to changer her mom’s mind. Thinking back on my own experiences, I doubt that *I* personally would have presented a well-thought out agrument to plead my case and get permission for another friend to come. *I* would most likely have whined and begged and made a nusience of myself pestering my mom. I’m not saying that all children would do this, and I certainly can’t presume to know how the exchange between LW and her mom went, I am only speaking from my own experience.
    I agree that Sam and her mom behaved quite badly. I wish that the story had ended with LW’s mom telling her that it would not be possible for Sam to come with Mom, LW and Kayla, but Sam’s mom would be welcome to bring Sam, and maybe they could meet up there, or say hi or whatever. I do think that having to stay home taught LW a valuable lesson. And I bet that in the future she was more firm with her friends who fished for invites.

  • Wink-n-Smile August 18, 2011, 2:57 pm

    For all those people who don’t understand why the mother stuck to her guns about the 2-person only rule:

    This was a charity event. As such, it likely had a specific amount of cover charge. That is, for a $10 donation per person, you have admission to the carnival. Quite possibly it was a cover-charge-only event, and once you were in, everything was included

    If the mother had budgeted $20 for the event, and Sam wanted to join, she’d either have to come up with another $10, or else let sam take the OP’s place. She chose not to mess up her own finances, and teach her child, and Sam, that money grows on trees. She chose to teach that if you have budgeted $20, you don’t spend $30.

    The OP KNEW that Sam was poor, because she was one of seven children. She doesn’t, however, know the specifics of her parents’ finances at the time. Perhaps they were living on a very tight budget, one designed to allow them a sufficiency and a few wants, but not more than that.

    Maybe the OP’s mother had already sacrificed some other budgeted item, so that her daughter could enjoy this carnival, and didn’t have anything else she could sacrifice at the time, to cover the extra cost.

    And if was a church-sponsored event, likely there already were chaperones there, and the plan had always been to drop them off and pick them up.

  • KTB August 18, 2011, 3:00 pm

    Aje, if that’s the case, your story confuses me even more. I’m not prepared to say your mom was mean, but… with Sam’s history of manipulative behavior, why did your mom reward her (and her mother’s!) hissy fit with a trip to a carnival?

  • Ista August 18, 2011, 3:02 pm

    When I read and approved of the above story, I did for the following reasons and assumptions (mostly fueled from my own experiences, I’ll admit), which I will explain here:
    1.OP’s Mom made a rule and stuck by it. I don’t know why she said only one friend could go, nor do I truly care. It could have been money, it could have been a token event for repaying Kayla’s earlier kindness, it could have been that the three were having puberty-fueled drama with each other and OP’s mom was trying to keep the two fighters apart for a fun evening. Simply, the rules are the rules, and at 10, OP should have known that her parent was in charge. By giving in after hearing her daughter’s pleas, the mom would have subliminally taught the child that crying would get her exactly what she wanted. Instead she taught that she (the parent) was in charge.
    2.I know, Sam cried and seemingly got what she wanted. Not really, though. The embarrassment Sam must have gone through when she found out her little hissy fit and forcing OP to go against her mother’s wishes must have been horrible. I’d be surprised if she enjoyed any part of the event. Particularly if Kayla blamed Sam for OP not being there.
    3.(One of the most important reasons for my reaction) Since Sam knew all the details, and presumably told her mom, OP’s mom obviously got the impression that OP had, indeed, invited Sam. Since OP begged Sam’s mom not to tell, and then left the room to hide rather than telling HER mom the truth, this was a valid conclusion. Classic guilt behavior for a child who has disobeyed authority.
    4.All three girls learned the etiquette rule that there is often only room in a guest list for those invited, and therefore they should not invite themselves places. It’s very possible that a signup sheet was passed around at church to give the planning committee a count total for snacks. Perhaps there was a fee that had to be paid in advance; OP’s mom had registered for 2, not 3, and it was too late for the committee to make more cupcakes/whatever.
    5.OP was taught that, once inviting someone to an event, a gracious hostess cannot disinvite the guest.
    6.There’s a phrase that has been taught throughout history, in different fables and in true events; it’s “Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.” By going back to the authority figure begging that both her friends be allowed to attend, even after she’d gotten an answer, OP was taught the lesson firsthand instead of through a book of fables.
    As for the dropping off kids at events on their own? I’m only 26 and I would be dropped off at all sorts of things on my own, from age 9+. Church events, stores, the library, the park…it was the norm, growing up in a small town. Plus my parents knew lots of people and knew there were adults in all those places who would be scanning “crowds”, willing to jump in if there was trouble. My friends had the same experience. I’m going to assume that Sam and Kayla’s parents were aware of the supervisory situation.

  • Enna August 18, 2011, 3:04 pm

    @ Bint, I agree with you 100%. OP’s Mum should have double checked with OP frist – it’s not like Sam was saying the OP had hit her or was bullying her. If Sam was getting a bit confused then Sam’s mum should have had a word with Sam after OP’s Mum had spoken to OP and had 2nd chat to Sam’s Mum.

  • Clair Seulement August 18, 2011, 3:10 pm

    Thanks for clarifying, OP. I still think the punishment didn’t fit the “crime” and that this all could have been avoided if your mother had simply asked Sam’s (or Kayla’s) mom to drop her off at your house or the carnival itself, or to take a turn picking everyone up.

  • Wink-n-Smile August 18, 2011, 3:20 pm

    alli_wan – if your sister invited herself to your house, and purchased the ticket, I think you should plan to be out of town on the date of her arrival.

    When she complains that you never met her at the airport, and she had to pay for a hotel room, you can remind her that she WAS NOT INVITED. Had she called and asked if she could come, you could have told her that you were not available at that time, and she wouldn’t have wasted her time and money (or, if you had actually wanted her there, and welcomed the visit, you could have said, “What a great idea! Why didn’t I think of that?” and issued the invitation, then.).

    I’m with you. Your parents should not have brought friend 2 along. They should have physically brought your sister to friend 2’s house, and in front of friend 2 and her parents, made your sister explain that she had NOT been given permission to invite friend 2, and the invitation was, therefore, not valid. She should have been made to apologize, and find some way to make up the hurt to friend 2. And possibly your parents should have seen if they could find a place for your sister to stay for the week, with a relative, or something.

  • A.J. August 18, 2011, 3:22 pm

    Reading the original story and now reading the LW’s comment, I have the feeling the LW’s mom was trying to get her to stand firm against a steamrolling friend- Sam. So that even if Sam heard about the carnival via Kayla, instead of saying “Well, I’ll ask my mom again if you can come” when she already knew the answer was no and therefore wasn’t listening to her mom, that she would have said, “No, she said I could only ask one friend and I already asked Kayla.” And since LW didn’t stand firm against Sam, then they had all the drama from Sam and her mom…actually now that I think about it, was not letting LW go to the carnival and only taking Sam and Kayla a way to try to get LW to stop being friends with Sam? As in, see, this girl causes too much trouble and drama in your life, now YOU don’t get to go to the carnival because she took your place?

    “I knew from previous experience it was better if Sam never knew about the fact that Kayla and I were hanging out, because she would feel left out. ”

    I know this feeling well. I had a friend just like Sam, who would flip out if I did something with another friend, yet had no problems at all doing it to me, even bragging about it later. She wanted to be the friend ALWAYS chosen to do things with. And yes, it was easier to try to not mention if I had plans with another friend, to avoid the drama with her. And I had similar things happen, where the other friend would mention something and my Sam would flip out. So really I should have just dealt with the drama head on, which, again, is what I think the LW’s mother was trying to do. Eventually I realized this “friend” was quite a selfish person and didn’t really think about other people’s feelings much and we stopped being friends.

  • Wink-n-Smile August 18, 2011, 3:28 pm

    Aje, thanks for the clarification!

    By my calculations, the girls got about 30-40 minutes of actual carnival time, thanks to the extra driving time, the late start, and the 7:00 pick-up. So everybody suffered.

    Even if Sam didn’t learn to stop inviting herself, you learned not to let her steamroll you, so while it was a harsh lesson, it was important, and your mother certainly did teach it effectively. You learned to stick to your guns.

    All these, “But they’re only 10!” comments bother me. Yes, they’re young. They are also old enough to learn to stick to their guns, to not presume an invitation where there isn’t one, to not lie about it, and to not take advantage. These are necessary lessons, and the sooner the better. At the time OP only lost out on an hour or less at a church carnival. What if she hadn’t learn the “stick to your guns” lesson by the time she was 14 or 15, and being pressured for sex?

    Or for that matter, at 12, and being pressured for sex. Those pressures start mighty young, these days.

    I agree with the OP and her Mom on this. Important lesson. Learned. And for one little hour of fun at the carnival, the price is really rather cheap.

  • Riri August 18, 2011, 3:33 pm

    What a tough mum o.o Well, I don’t think that anyone was extremely wrong, but everyone could have acted differently. Sam’s mum for sure shouldn’t have been so demanding (and probably really scary to a 10-year-old). OP’s mum should have been firmer: it wasn’t a private party, so she could have said, Sam is welcome to attend, but not as our guest, and I will not be covering her cost. Kayla obviously shouldn’t have blabbed, but it seems like she’s just as good friends with Sam as with OP, so maybe she felt caught in the middle. And I think both Sam and OP were just victims of confusion. For sure everything could have been handled better, but at least you are still friends!

  • Jamesy August 18, 2011, 3:35 pm

    @Aje (OP) if Sam did, in fact, push you around for most of your childhood and manipulate adults, that really is a frustrating, to say the least. It’s unfortunate that we don’t know what was said in the conversation between Sam’s mother and your mother, because clearly, despite your assertion that your mom was “sticking to her guns”, something made her back down.

    Frankly, I’m just as baffled by this situation as everyone else. However, it helps to know that there was an entrance fee.

    I dealt with a similar situation in my youth: invites to my tenth or eleventh birthday had gone out, but one girl with whom I was becoming close had not been invited. When she found out and inquired as to why she had not been invited and hinted at possible inclusion, all I could do was explain my reasoning and apologize for the unintentional slight. In spite of this rough start, we remained close for years.

  • sj August 18, 2011, 4:17 pm

    This doesn’t sound like your mom sticking to her guns. She did end up driving to TWO friends houses, and she did end up letting Sam have her way and be invited. How is this okay?

    The worst thing that the OP did was to ask again after her mom made it clear she could only invite one friend. So, not that bad.

  • gramma dishes August 18, 2011, 4:38 pm

    Aje ~~ If Sam is the “queen of misunderstandings that come out in her favor”, don’t you think this whole thing may have contributed to that? She behaved badly and selfishly and apparently, rather untruthfully … and she won!! She got to go to the event. You were the one who was punished.

    She had a good time. Somehow I doubt she felt bad about it at all! She had quite successfully manipulated you, your mother and her own mother. I don’t think your Mom’s plan to have “everyone” learn a lesson from this panned out. In fact, I think it backfired and taught Sam (and maybe her mother) that she could manipulate people, a lesson she apparently learned well and still practices routinely.

    You say that for most of your life (I presume meaning after this event) you have allowed her to push you around. You, well actually your mother, taught her that she COULD push you around! You say you’re all still friends and I guess that’s lovely, but honestly I can’t imagine why.

    Honestly, this is one of the most disturbing stories I’ve read on here. I’m glad you are able to be supportive of your Mom’s role in this. It’s just sad that she couldn’t have been a little more supportive of you when you needed it.

  • Louise August 18, 2011, 4:39 pm


    “The OP is at fault for not just saying no, and not sticking to it, but instead trying to convince her mother again and again to invite Sam along too.”
    — I think it’s very hard at 10 years old to say no to one of your best friends and stick with it. A lot of grown-ups have trouble saying no and sticking with it — their stories are all over the forum! I also don’t see in the story where the OP tried to “convince her mother again and again” to invite Sam. She expressed reservations about not inviting Sam in the beginning, to which her mother said one invite only (I don’t interpret this as angling for permission to invite her, but I understand if you think it is); and then she asked one more time and accepted no for answer. She didn’t badger her mother or try to connive her; at the very most she asked twice if Sam could come, and I read the story as her only asking once.

    “When I was young, my parents planned a family vacation and mentioned to my sister they were thinking of inviting one of her friends to go along with us, a friend whose family was having a hard time financially. Before my parents could invite the friend via her parents, my sister had already asked, found out the friend couldn’t go, then invited another friend to take her place, all without consulting our parents. While the solution shouldn’t have involved leaving my sister home alone on a week long vacation, my parents picked the next worse solution; they brought friend number 2 with us!”
    — I’m not sure what this has to do with the OP’s story. The OP’s mother didn’t pick a friend for the OP to take to the carnival. The OP didn’t go behind her mother’s back and invite another girl. All she did was tell Sam where the carnival was being held, this after saying she was “only allowed one person” and that person was Kayla. Even if Sam interpreted that as an invite, it’s not.

    “Suffering the consequences of misbehavior is all a part of growing up, even if you are ten. Brava, OP’s mom, brava.”
    — I don’t see where the OP misbehaved, nor do I see how the consequence fits the supposed transgression. Had the OP’s mother said, “OP, I told you once that Sam isn’t invited. To punish you for asking again, I’m not taking you to the carnival,” that would make sense, I suppose. (Personally, I think that’s harsh, but it’s a parenting decision.) But instead she had a conversation with Sam’s mother who had heard OP invited then uninvited Sam, and then punished the OP, presumably based on whatever Sam and her mother said. I don’t see how that’s praiseworthy.

  • Missy August 18, 2011, 4:52 pm

    Here’s the thing that bothers me – the OP didn’t invite Sam to the carnival. It was Kayla’s fault for spilling the beans, but the OP explained to Sam why she wasn’t invited:

    “I told her I was only allowed one person. She begged me to re-ask my mom, so I said I would try, but I told her I didn’t think it would happen.”

    Sam was never officially invited, therefore. And the tantrum and lie she told got the OP in trouble. The OP NEVER INVITED HER. Kayla spills the beans, Sam lies, but the OP gets punished in the end. I’d agree with the punishment the OP received if she invited Sam, but that’s not the case.

    Also, both mothers bother me, mostly the OP’s mom. The OP’s mother jumps to the conclusion that her daughter invited two people. Then she allows two 10 year old girls to go to a carnival by themselves (what if the girls’ parents weren’t okay with this? Church or not, some parents don’t feel comfortable with their 10 year old being somewhere without adult supervision). I also suspect Sam’s mother did some guilt tripping since Sam go to go. That’s inappropriate. Her daughter was never invited and she needs to accept that.

  • ellesee August 18, 2011, 5:24 pm

    Since the event was a public affair, I don’t think it was wrong for Sam to want to go and ask if she can join her friends. After reading the comments and OP’s clarifications, this situation could have been solved by:

    1. Parents of Sam and Kayla drive them to OP’s house to carpool (driven by OP’s mom).
    2. Each kid is given money by their own parents to spend.
    3. After the fun has ended, parents pick up their kids at OP’s house.

    I think this is very reasonable. If each parent is unwilling to drive to OP’s house or provide spending money, THEN it is tough nuts. I agree the punishment was unusual (not cruel–it’s just a carnival that will probably be back next time). I think OP’s mom was just stressed and did not think this through at all and didn’t want to deal with it….although it just led her to waste more time. This could have been an opportunity to learn about efficiency (where everybody wins), bargaining AND sticking to your guns/principles.

  • Peter August 18, 2011, 5:35 pm

    You shouldve explained to sams mom that sam wasnt invited and that only one friend was allowed to come, or you shouldve just invited sam in the first place. Problem solved

  • --Lia August 18, 2011, 5:51 pm


    Your sister is an adult, right? Tell her, again, that inviting herself over is unacceptable. Explain that you will not open the door as you did last time when she invited herself. Then don’t answer the door. If you answer it, don’t let her in. If you let her in, tell her to leave. If she won’t leave, call a friend or law enforcement or whatever you have to do to get her out of there. If she doesn’t have money for a motel, don’t pay for it. Whatever you do, don’t back down.

    If you start to feel guilty, remind yourself that you’re doing her a favor. Growing up is a fantastic adventure, and your family has been robbing her of the terrific experience. While it feels like you’re being mean, you’re giving her a gift.

    Your sister doesn’t sound as manipulative as she sounds smart. In the past, she’s never been held accountable for her actions, so she’s learned that she’s not accountable for her actions. In the past, when she’s cried, she’s gotten what she wanted. When someone made her wait, she cried louder. She’s learned to keep crying. It’s always worked in the past.

    Here’s my story. A friend dropped by my house on a Monday morning when I had a thousand things to do. I was working from home for myself, and while I could rearrange my schedule a little, I couldn’t rearrange it altogether. (Anyone who has ever been self-employed knows that the boss is those situations is the toughest of all. They’re called customers. Self employed people also know how hard this is to explain to others.)

    When she knocked on the door, at first I thought it had to be some sort of emergency, let her in, and waited for her to tell me how I needed to rush to the hospital. She’d come to chat. I told her that I had a thousand things to do, that Monday morning was a bad time, and that she should call first. She explained that she’d dropped her husband off to work and couldn’t call first because I was on the way, and she just swung off the highway. We chatted for a few more minutes. I told her that I was really busy, had a lot to do, that Monday was a bad time, and that she should call first. She repeated her explanation. This went on until an hour had gone by. Finally, I stood up, told her that I was going to have to ask her to leave, and went back to how she should call first. She went back to how she couldn’t, and she left.

    Next Monday. She knocks again. Same song and dance except this time I ask her to leave after 10 minutes and only a few repetitions.

    3rd Monday. She knocks AGAIN! I call through the door and without opening it: NO! MONDAY’S A BAD DAY! CALL FIRST! She left.

    And that solved my problem. (Or rather, that solved that particular problem. I’ve got legions of stories about that friend.) I’ve thought about that for all the years since. How could she possibly think it was O.K. to drop by on my busiest day despite being told time and time again that I was busy and that she should call first? The answer came to me. The whole time I was explaining calmly what I wanted, my actions were contradicting my words. I was saying that I didn’t want her to drop by, but she was hearing “blah blah blah.” After all, she was sitting in my living room, right? As soon as she didn’t get what she wanted, she got the point.

    And thus with your sister. If she puts you to tremendous inconvenience by coming, even by flying, to visit when she’s not invited, and she gets invited in, what’s to make her hear what you’re saying about how it’s unacceptable? You’re saying one thing and doing another. When you make your actions line up with your words, your sister has a chance to learn– And that’s a good thing. Get her started on that grand growing up adventure. She won’t be the worse for it.

  • Sharon August 18, 2011, 7:01 pm

    The OP mom was wrong from the get-go. When there are three friends no good can ever come from excluding one. There was no way on earth to keep this a secret and if the OP’s mom could not afford both guests then she should have just talked to each mom herself and told them that the kids would need to bring their own money.
    The OP was TEN years old. Talk about angst!!! A ten year old is not able to dealt with this kind of convoluted mess.

  • Zhoen August 18, 2011, 7:52 pm

    OP, Love your mom. That was a very creative solution to girl-drama and a manipulative girl and mom. Pressure someone, try to wriggle in, — unforeseen consequences ensue. Everyone got what they wanted, sort of. Kayla and Sam got to go to the event, OP got to have two friends go. No one was precisely ‘punished’, as such. Mom still had to pay out and make a longer drive than she had time for, so she took on the extra work herself. Oh, and that Life Ain’t Fair lesson, good to have young. Any important lesson is so hard when we are small, but that makes it more valuable, and serves us all our lives.

    I’m betting you know how to say No, politely, and definitely.

  • SV August 18, 2011, 9:31 pm

    I suspect the reason the OP could only invite one friend is because the OP’s mother was funding the outing, and the reason Sam could not simply go on her own and meet the OP & Kayla there is because she could not afford it. When the OP begged Sam’s mom not to speak to her own mom it made the OP look guilty, as though she had indeed invited Sam. It kind of sounds like the OP’s mom was upset with Sam’s mom, blamed the OP, and then later regretted it. But as a mom with financial constraints I do understand why she set the original limit of one friend, and it goes without saying that everyone should have respected that.

  • DocCAC August 18, 2011, 9:45 pm

    Things like this is why I am glad I had the parents I did. By ten (and earlier), I knew and all my friends knew, my parent’s “No” meant just that, no wheedling to get her to change her (or Dad’s) mind or no one would be going.

  • Baglady August 18, 2011, 10:54 pm

    Color me confused as well. Why was the OP made to suffer when she was the only one who *didn’t* do anything wrong. All she did was agree to ask Mom a second time to include Sam. If I were in her position, I’d have the exact same reaction to my left-out friend’s disappointment … and I’m five times as old as OP and Sam were.

    Given that I am older, however, there are little nuances I’m reading into the story that might not have been part of OP/Sam’s 10-year-old mindset. “I’ll ask Mom again (but no promises, she was pretty adamant about just one friend).” “The event is at St. Joseph’s on Elm Street (just in case your mom can bring you when mine says no).”

    I think both moms should have sat their daughters down and gotten the story in their own words before their phone confrontation. That would probably have led to the right person (Sam) paying the consequences.

  • Danielle August 19, 2011, 12:10 am

    This is why you don’t take the word of a ten year old that they have been invited somewhere: kids hear what they want to hear, communicate details poorly, and make each other promises that they have no authority to make. I never assume my child has been invited until I hear it from an adult.

    Also, am I the only one that takes offense that Sam’s mom thought it was appropriate to call and confront our 10 year old OP about the situation, and that her immediate reaction was to believe every word her daughter said, and NO ONE involved felt the need to listen to the OP’s side of the story?

  • kelly August 19, 2011, 6:24 am

    Sam was the wrong doer here. She knew she was not invited, but made sure she got her way. The OP’s mother chose to believe Sam rather than her own daughter, so Sam learnt that if she cried and wailed she would be rewarded and someone else punished. This was just enabling Sam’s bad behaviour.

  • Abby August 19, 2011, 6:57 am

    @gramma dishes-

    “Somehow I doubt she felt bad about it at all! She had quite successfully manipulated you, your mother and her own mother. I don’t think your Mom’s plan to have “everyone” learn a lesson from this panned out. In fact, I think it backfired and taught Sam (and maybe her mother) that she could manipulate people, a lesson she apparently learned well and still practices routinely.”

    Exactly! I am not sure how OP figures her mother stuck to her guns and taught everyone a lesson- well, I guess she did teach Sam and her mom a lesson, that she who throws a tantrum and gets her mommy involved will get her way. I think the OP’s clarification makes the situation even worse! So, the mom knows Sam is extremely manipulative and not above lying to get her own way, yet because Sam’s mother got involved she not only gives in and allows Sam to go, but she inconveniences herself further by picking up both girls, taking them to the carnival, and then taking them home. Oh yeah OP mom, you sure showed them. OP’s mom punished herself and her daughter, and Kayla, for something Sam did (and the mom knew Sam had a history of doing that!). I just don’t get it.

    OP, feel free to tell me to MMOB, but um, why are you still friends with Sam? I mean, in order to go to a freakin carnival (which is a pretty minor treat in the grand scheme of things) Sam lied to her mom and made you look like the bad guy- wasn’t going over to her house after that pretty awkward? I can’t even imagine what an adult Sam would pull to get her way over something that was actually important.

  • Yvaine August 19, 2011, 7:18 am

    I agree, Danielle. Sam’s mom was being a bully. It’s easy to see where Sam learned to manipulate.

    Sadly, there are a lot of parents who will always believe an adult’s word over their child’s word, no matter what.

  • Piratelvr1121 August 19, 2011, 8:04 am

    I knew a girl that’s a lot like Sam who would lie and manipulate to try and get her way. It worked to her advantage that she and her parents lived in a duplex owned by her father’s parents and her mother and grandmother didn’t get along so she’d play them off each other and take advantage of the poor communication in the family.

    For example, one day in late July the girl asked me if I could babysit her during the day for the rest of the summer. (normally her grandmother watched her while her parents worked). I told her no, in large part because my best friend would be coming to visit in that space of time and we had a lot of things planned that did not involve watching this girl. That evening, I got a call from her mother saying “Oh she told me you said you would watch her during the day, but I wanted to let you know we’re not going to have you watch her because her grandmother does it for free and we can’t afford to pay anyone.”

    Then a few weeks later she told her grandmother that her mom couldn’t take her to the back to school orientation but that I had offered to take her, and that was okay with her mom. When the grandmother asked me about this in front of the child, I told her that she’d been misinformed, and I had never said I would take her because I have my own children to take, and the grandmother understood completely and agreed that I shouldn’t be expected to take someone else’s child since I’ve got two of my own who are in different grades and thus would have different teachers. (in the end the girl’s mother did take her)

    I could definitely see this child pulling the same thing as Sam.

  • Enna August 19, 2011, 8:07 am

    @ Aje, the OP if Sam is known to be a Drama Queen then surely your Mum is aware of how manipulative she can be? All your Mum needed to say to Sam’s Mum is “oh dear, there has been a bit of a misunderstanding here.” However your Mum telling you that Sam is old enough to know manners then punishing you is a bit harsh.

  • Enna August 19, 2011, 8:09 am

    @ Wink-a-smile if OP’s Mum was going to stick to her guns she should have said “no” to Sam’s mother and said there was a misunderstading, that the OP had only promised to ASK (mother should have had a chat with OP to claify what had happened).

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